IF OUR current leadership is letting us down, there is hope in the youth who will take over.

SunEducation spent time with 20 undergraduates and postgraduates from different universities as they discussed solutions to South Africa’s many problems.

Deward Serfontein, from Fluent Investor Relations, was a judge in the Nedbank and Old Mutual Budget Speech Competition. He said: “One lesson we learnt from our current problems is how many excellent solutions the students presented at the debate.

“The level of talent and drive in our youth fills us with confidence that the future is in safe hands.”

The students debated issues such as the failing state-owned enterprises, taxes and immigration.

Caleb Qoyo from the University of Cape Town, the winner of the undergraduate category and its R60 000 prize, argued that many risks faced the economy such as earning imbalances, the lack of access to correct information, panic buying or asset bubbles, negative side effects or externalities of political policies.

Financial institutions that only invest in the same narrow part of the market are also at risk.

“Cryptocurrencies – the decentralised and privately controlled electronic money – are popular in our crashing economy but have extremely volatile values in comparison to fiat or government-controlled and backed currencies.”

Fiat currencies, are based on the trust generated by governments, central banks and financial systems.

This makes them more stable but the trust needs all three parts to be healthy and reliable.

Serfontein said we should be proud our youth have a good grasp of what needs to be done.

To enter next year’s competition, visit www.budgetspeechcompetition.co.za